How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook / Edition 1

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A straightforward guide to the rituals and celebrations of the major religions and denominations in America from the perspective of an interested guest of any other faith, How to Be a Perfect Stranger is based on information obtained from authorities of each religion. It is not a guide to theology, nor is it presented from the perspective of any particular faith. These easy-to-use guidebooks help the well-meaning guest of any other faith to feel at ease, participate to the fullest extent possible, and avoid violating anyone's religious principles or hurting their feelings.

What will happen? What do I do? What do I wear? What do I say? What should I avoid doing, wearing, saying? What are their basic beliefs? Should I bring a gift? When is it okay to leave?

These are just a few of the basic, very practical questions answered in How to Be a Perfect Stranger, two books that belong in every living room, library and office.
"Finally, for those inclined to undertake their own spiritual journeys...tells visitors what to expect."
- The New York Times

"The things Miss Manners forgot to tell us about religion."
-The Los Angeles Times

"Highly recommended."
- Library Journal

"At last: Help has arrived for the religiously challenged."
-Denver Rocky Mountain News

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Editorial Reviews

New York Jewish Week
A cross between a Michelin guide to religious services and Miss Manners on God.
Library Journal
When the first editions of these two uniquely valuable volumes were published in hardcover in 1996 and 1997, respectively, they were enthusiastically received--Volume 1 won the Benjamin Franklin Award for best reference book of 1996. Covering the basic history and beliefs of every major and minor religion in the United States, including primary religious texts, religious services, special services (such as weddings and funerals), and observed holidays, the volumes provided detailed information for the "stranger" on practical topics such as where to sit, how to behave, how to dress, how to address clergy, and where to write for further information. The two volumes (Volume 1 covers the larger denominations in the United States, while Volume 2 covers smaller denominations such as African American Methodist, Mennonite/Amish, and Native American faiths) have now been completely updated and expanded to include information on the Canadian branches of each faith as well. While libraries that purchased the original volumes may not feel a need to update after only a few years, those in or close to Canada and those that did not purchase the original volumes will want to consider this most worthwhile set. Highly recommended.--Marcia G. Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., CT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Many of us feel nervous when we receive an invitation to attend a wedding, bar mitzvah, funeral, or other religious ceremony in a denomination or religion with which we are unfamiliar. What will the ceremony be like? What should I wear? When do I kneel? When do I stand? In what should I not participate? What sort of gift is expected and when do I present it? After questioning religious centers and experts across the country, Magida and other staff of Jewish Lights have compiled this helpful and informative guide to the basic beliefs and ceremonial practices of the major Jewish and Protestant denominations, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Mormon, Christian Scientist, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist religions. While general etiquette books usually cover some religious etiquette, none covers it as extensively or in as much detail as this. A welcome addition to public library collections. Highly recommended.-Marcia Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., Ct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781893361010
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 423
  • Sales rank: 1,011,788
  • Product dimensions: 6.82 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart M. Matlins is widely recognized as a leader in the spiritual transformation of Judaism in our time. Recipient of the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award, he is founder, editor in chief and publisher of Jewish Lights Publishing. He is the editor of several anthologies, including the best-selling How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook and The Jewish Lights Spirituality Handbook: A Guide to Understanding, Exploring & Living a Spiritual Life.

Arthur J. Magida is a freelance editor and author.

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